Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time.
We must take urgent action to cut global emissions in half by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050. This demands the phasing out of fossil fuel emissions, along with adopting efficient, renewable energies.
Achieving net-zero carbon emissions won’t be easy, but it is still possible. It will require the collaboration of public and government leaders, along with regular citizens, as well as education and heightened awareness of what we must do, individually and collectively, to protect and conserve our precious planet.
Here are nine logical, eco practices we can integrate into our lives to help us take a stand against climate change:
1. Avoid microplastics.
These tiny pieces of plastic, measuring less than 5mm long, have been found in our oceans, rivers, air, food, bottled water, and tap water. Up to eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean annually. This amount is projected to double within the next decade unless there is a radical change in human behavior.
Ban glitter from your life. Avoid buying it or products that contain it. If you really must have glitter, opt for a biodegradable version.
Choose non-synthetic clothes made of natural materials, like cotton. Use a laundry ball to catch microfibers shedding off clothes in the washing machine. Air dry instead of using the dryer. Support organizations addressing plastic pollution, such as Plastic Pollution Coalition.
2. Don’t eat fake food.
Avoid foods that contain chemicals, artificial colorants and preservatives, palm oil, or hydrogenated corn oil. Eat fruits and vegetables harvested locally. Grow some herbs and edibles in your own garden.
3. Go vegetarian.
Avoid factory-farmed meat. Mainstream meat production is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions that uses an incredible amount of land and water and tortures animals.
Incorporate a variety of whole grains, fresh and dried fruits, and fresh vegetables and beans into your daily diet. Boost your vegetable intake by adding them to soup, pasta, or rice dishes.
Invest in a good vegetarian cookbook or search online for recipes and meal ideas. Expand your repertoire to encompass international cuisines—like Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Middle Eastern—that boast tons of colorful vegetarian options.
If you don’t already, start reading food labels, since some seemingly vegetarian foods may contain lard, chicken broth, or gelatin. Don’t buy into the myth that vegetarians can’t get enough protein in their diets. Most people’s protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant proteins (whole grains, beans, lentils, and nuts) and consuming enough calories.